e-books, a new way..........
                               A better way?

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Many people shy away from books produced in electronic format preferring instead the feel of a paper book in their hands. While there is comfort in things familiar, a lot can be lost if we are not open to new ideas. Admittedly, an electronic book lacks the tactile feel of paper, but offsetting this are a number of features not possible with paper. Some important benefits of e-books are listed below............

1.    Damage Resistance: Traditional paper books are subject to wear and damage with use. The workshop environment can be particularly hard on an expensive paper book. Solvents, dust and other shop materials can permanently stain or damage a paper book.

      An electronic book, on the other hand, is not really a physical object and therefore is not subject to the same type of wear. If a physical copy is needed for the shop, only the actual pages needed are printed. If they become soiled, damaged or are marked up, new copies can be printed if needed.

2.   Search Capabilities:  Electronic books offer a unique capability not possible with traditional books. Most e-book formats support word or phrase searching within a page or the entire document. The ability to easily find a certain word or phrase among hundreds of pages can prove invaluable when working with a large book. For many, this capability alone makes e-books a superior choice.

3.   Linking Capability:  Electronic books can, and usually do, contain clickable links to topics within the book as well as external sources. The ability to jump from one topic to another with a simple click makes navigation within an e-book quick and efficient.

     Even more impressive however, is the ability to jump from a page in the book to any one of the millions of web sites with the same simple click. For technical subjects, this fast transition to supporting sites is very valuable.

4.    Zoom Capability: One of the most useful functions that an e-book provides is the ability to zoom in on any part of a page. When photos or drawings are an important part of an explanation, the ability to enlarge and study the photo often becomes critical.

     Sometimes, simply being able to enlarge the text makes reading without strain much more comfortable. With paper, a magnifying glass is the only option.

5.   Multi-Media Capability: An electronic book is able to incorporate many types of electronic media. Sound and/or moving images can be easily incorporated into an e-book. For certain subjects, this can provide a dimension of clarity simply not possible with a static paper book.

6.   Lower Cost: Paper books, particularly those in a large format or with high-color-use or low print volume, become very costly to produce and ship. In some cases, the cost versus potential return simply does not justify publication of an otherwise useful work.

      An electronic book cost approximately the same to produce regardless of its length, format size or color content. E-books on media such as CD can be mailed anywhere in the world for very little costs and some e-books can actually be downloaded from web sites at, essentially, zero distribution cost. For low volume, high color or page content books, an electronic format is often the only feasible means to put the work into circulation.

Admittedly, an e-book can't replace the memory of sitting on dad or grandpa's lap as he reads from a large storybook. On the other hand, e-books can become a very useful tool in today’s world of instant information access.

E-books will never replace paper but they can provide an enhanced information source to those who are open-minded.